Repairs underway on damaged French submarine Perle

Photo: Naval Group

Repairs are ongoing on the French Navy nuclear-powered submarine Perle, which was damaged by an onboard fire while undergoing an overhaul at Toulon on June 12, 2020.

French defence contractor Naval Group is carrying out the repairs at its facilities in Cherbourg.

As part of the repairs, Perle‘s damaged bow will be replaced with the bow of sister boat Saphir, a submarine that was decommissioned in July 2019. Both Perle and Saphir are Rubis-class submarines built by DCNS, which later became Naval Group.

Saphir‘s bow is currently being welded to Perle‘s hull. Once this step is completed, the inner decks will be reconstructed and hundreds of cables and manifolds that run from bow to stern will be spliced.

To aid in the repairs, Naval Group developed a 3D digital twin of Perle. Among other things, this will enable electricians and pipe fitters to rehearse their movements in virtual reality before carrying out any actual repairs on the submarine.

Naval Group expects the repairs on Perle to be fully completed by the end of this year. The submarine will afterwards be fitted with upgraded equipment before its return to operational service.

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